Before treatment: Crumbling edges, misshapen spine, detached pages, overfilled pages, board detachment front and back.
After treatment: Foldered and housed detached pages in a 4-flap wrapper, sewed new endsheets front and back, lined spine and created new flange with extended liner and new endsheet, reattached text-block to case using new flange, mended edges and substrate tears with Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste, humidified and flattened creased clippings.
At a future date, this clipping book will be photographed and uploaded to the Keith/Albee Digital Collection. This project has been funded in major part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The University of Iowa Libraries presents a wonderful and exciting opportunity for one and for all: The Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection in glorious DIY History! Now you too can step right up and take part in transcribing these exciting behind-the-scenes reports!
The first 24 books in the Keith/Albee collection, totaling 7,774 images, are now available for transcription in DIY History. These initial volumes consist of typed theater managers’ reports, giving one a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of vaudeville theater during its time. The managers give their own blunt impression of every act that has graced the Keith/Albee vaudeville stages, ranging wildly from lavish praise to scathing criticism. Included in these books are many people who later became legendary stars, such as W.C. Fields, Harry Houdini, and Buster Keaton.
Last week, I flew to New York City for the very first time to attend the Digital Transitions Division of Cultural Heritage Round Table, a day-long event which brought together digital imaging professionals from a variety of institutions including the New York Public Library, Smithsonian Institution, and Frick Collection.
The day began at the Morgan Library & Museum with a handful of colleagues sharing their work in brief presentations. Several times, the audience heartily agreed with nods and laughs as the speakers shared their grips, challenges, and exasperations. Digitization of fold-outs, metadata workflows, and software limitations were among the all-too-familiar challenges. Angela Waarala from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign spoke about two projects which involve large and fragile fold-outs housed within bound volumes. As she enumerated the collections’ features and digitization rationale, I thought of our own Engineering Bachelors Theses Collection, which is likely to be both a digitization joy and stressor in 2017. At the conclusion of the presentations, Digital Transition’s Peter Siegel led the group in a round table discussion about our priorities for Phase One’s future development of Capture One CH. Back at the Digital Transitions office, I mingled with colleagues from the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), Yale University, and Ohio State University while watching live demos of digitization techniques like focus stacking.
UI Libraries has been digitizing special collections and rare materials with a Digital Transitions RG3040 Reprographic System since November 2014. To date, we have photographed items from the Arthur and Miriam Canter Rare Book Room (Clementi’s Various piano works) and John Martin Rare Book Room (Browne’s Religio Medici) as well as more than 70 managers’ reports and clipping books from the Keith/Albee Collection in Special Collections & University Archives.
Some new changes have come to the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Collection project since we have last updated. Read more about the project here and here.
Candida Pagan joined the Preservation/Conservation department in December last year as Keith/Albee Project Conservator. Candida holds an MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book and a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the the Iowa Museums Archives and Libraries Emergency Response Team (IMALERT) and serves on the board of directors of the Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium (ICPC). She has worked in book and paper conservation for four years at the University of Iowa Libraries and at the New Orleans Conservation Guild. As a graduate student at the University of Iowa, Candida was involved with initial Keith-Albee collection surveys and with the Fluxus West digitization project. She is experienced in cultural collections disaster response and is enthusiastic about preservation outreach.
In July 2015, Justin Baumgartner, Keith/Albee Digital Project Librarian, visited the Annual Conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations in Sydney, Australia. He presented an original poster, “In the Spotlight: Digitization and the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Collection”.
40 Keith/Albee scrapbooks and counting have been digitized and are fully available online as part of the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Collection in the Iowa Digital Library. Browse the collection online here.
The Iowa Digital Library isn’t the only place you can go to find archival vaudeville materials. Here are some links to great digital collections at other institutions:
Earlier this month, Preservation & Conservation welcomed a new addition to our family: this lovely new digital image capture system from Digital Transitions! This equipment will be essential in undertaking one of our most ambitious projects yet, the digitization of the 150 scrapbooks in the Keith/Albee Collection.
While our previous overhead scanner, the Zeutschel, has been in use and doing a wonderful job for several years, there has been a need for some time to update this equipment. Additionally, guidelines for the Keith/Albee NEH grant require that the scrapbooks be digitized at a higher resolution than the Zeutschel is capable of. For more information on this project, check out our previous blog posts here and here.
The setup for this new equipment is unprecedented for this department. The main scanning room had to be cleared out entirely in order to make room for it, and it more closely resembles a portrait studio currently than a typical scanning room. This new digital reprographic system uses a Phase One digital camera back, taking high quality images of each item. At 80 megapixels, it uses one of the highest-quality cameras currently available. The camera itself is attached to an electronically movable column.
Visit the growing Keith/Albee digital archive here.